God has filled the simple act of eating with a significance far beyond the daily necessities of nutrition. A deep and abiding social instinct draws us to the table together. Though we can snack alone, we prefer to meal together. Food is the universal language of love, and dining alone feels like a deserted city, an empty church, a dark fireplace. Solitary meals may satisfy one hunger, but they inflame all the rest.
We have often noted that a meal marked man’s fall from paradise: “Eve took and she ate. How simple the act, how hard the undoing. God will taste poverty and death before “Take and Eat” ever again become verbs of salvation.” So it is no surprise, therefore, when Jesus came to man, He comes with a meal in hand, offering the Bread of Life, the Water of Life, and the wine of the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. He wants us to eat our way back to heaven!
As we come to the Father’s table next week, I want us to think carefully about the metaphor of bread.
First of all, there is the Bread of Life. Jesus himself is the sacrifice of sacrifices that must be eaten. Our participation in Him is so total, the union between us so close that the two of us become one. He with us, and we in Him. What better way to symbolize this than by eating His body and blood. As the old proverb says: You are what you eat!
Second, there is the Bread of Fellowship. On Communion Sundays, we have a long standing habit of mealing together. What better way to celebrate our communion as a church. As we do, let me encourage you to reach out for the isolated and the lonely in our midst. On such occasions, it is so easy to seek out our very best friends, but don’t forget to keep an eye for the marginalized at Christ Covenant. Make sure none are excluded from the warm embrace of our fellowship.
Third, there is the Bread of Mercy. One of the evils of the Welfare State is that it very often robs the Church of its central place in the economy of God to care for the poor. In Reformation times, the Church would take up a poor offering on Communion Sundays. This practice has deep roots extending all the way back to the time of the Apostles (1Cor 16:1-2). Starting in June, your session intends to make this habit our very own by taking up an offering of food and daily necessities for the poor of our city. Paul Van Eerden will oversee this work, partnering with a number of other local churches in serving the last, the lost, and the least of Greensboro. Please consider how you might lean in and support us in this endeavor. God never forgets His people when they remember the poor: “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord,
and he will repay him for his deed. ” (Proverbs 19:17, ESV).